COVID-19 impacts businesses in California

With the spread of COVID-19 in California, Governor Gavin Newsom mandated that Californians should stay at home Thursday, March 19. It’s one of the first states in the U.S. to put forth this restriction. Governor Newsom made this decision because California is one of the few states that’s been hit hardest by COVID-19, besides New York and Washington. Federal officials, including President Trump, have approved of this measure and encourage people to stay at home as much as possible. The goal is to prevent COVID-19 from spreading too quickly, so hospitals aren’t overrun with patients and run out of resources.

Under this order, Californians can still go to gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, takeout and delivery restaurants, banks, laundromats and seek healthcare services. Employees of food and agriculture, healthcare, transportation, energy, financial services or emergency response occupations are still allowed to go to work. People who don’t follow the mandate may get a misdemeanor citation. 

Los Angeles and Ventura County have ordered similar measures but on a smaller scale. L.A. County, for example, has ordered all nonessential businesses to close. Employees must work from home and all public gatherings are banned. Nonessential businesses include museums, malls and retail stores. These closures are currently underway in Santa Clarita. 

Westfield Valencia Town Center, the mall, closed Thursday, March 19. In response, restaurants such as Wokcano and The Cheesecake Factory have shifted to take-out only orders and had to adjust their hours to accommodate these changes. The mall should reopen March 29 unless officials say otherwise. Westfield Valencia Town Center isn’t the only business affected. Other smaller businesses, such as restaurants and bars, have had to lay off their employees and fear going bankrupt. 

“We want to stop the spread of the virus and be part of the solution, but don’t want to go bankrupt. We’re a small business and not only do I have myself to worry about, but all my people who work for me. I don’t know what I can do to help them,” said Dennis Marazzito, the owner of Drifters Cocktails in Canyon Country, to The Signal

As of now, small businesses are allowed to remain open as long as they provide take-out or delivery options. The Small Business Administration, a government agency that provides support for entrepreneurs and small businesses, plans on processing low-interest, long-term disaster loans for small businesses, private non-profit organizations and others who suffer economically from the spread of COVID-19. This will allow these aforementioned groups to stay afloat as the economy takes a hit.